Midnight In The Garden Of Good

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Byline: MARK HOLGATE Photographed by Raymond Meier.

Midnight in the garden of good

After dark, guerrilla gardenersin earthy woven sandals and raffia bagsturn the concrete jungle into an urban Eden.

GREEN STREETS

Years ago, a young garden designer named Dan Pearson moved to the decrepit Bonnington

Square, in a very ungentrified area of south London. The tumbledown Victorian houses were being squatted by students whose aesthetic sensibilities were offended by the raw environs they found themselves in. Despite having no legal right to do so, theyPearson includedstarted digging, planting, seeding, and tending the earth. “Before long, a rash of green spread across the square,” he recalls. “People started socializing outside, which they’d never done before. It gave the place a heart.” Pearson and his crew had become an environmental Robin Hood and his Merry Green Men and Women: stealing land from the rich (property owners) to give back to the poor (beleaguered community). They’d become guerrilla gardeners.

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The green rash of guerrilla gardening is everywhere these days, though its roots can’t be unearthed. London wasn’t ground zero. Neither was New York, where eco/community activists created gardens among the tenements of the Lower East Side back in the seventies. (Pearson documents both in his new Fuel Publishing book, Spirit: Garden Inspiration .) But worldwide, wherever there are wastelands, roadsides, and long-neglected strips of land, they’re being turned into urban oases by devotees who care about the environmentand their environment. (Yes, they’re breaking the law. No, we’re not advocates for illegal activity. But when the transformations can be so dramatic and life-enhancing, we’re with the Merry band.)

This year’s resort accessories share guerrilla gardening’s love of nature. There is organic-chic straw from Lanvin; rustic woven leather from Proenza Schouler. Clearly, the irony of these A1/4berluxe pieces in the context of a grassroots movement isn’t lost on us. But there is common ground: Both want to make the experience of city life that much more beautiful.

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To see more of our favorite fall accessories, go to Accessory File at vogue.com.

CAPTION(S):

ACTIVE BOTANICALS

Nocturnal planting requires a steady handand a substantial sandal underfoot. Suede gardening gloves, $20; takashimaya-ny.com. Derek Lam nude calfskin-and-cork platforms ($790), sleeveless cardigan, and shorts; Derek Lam, NYC.

BUDDING INTEREST

Guerrilla gardeningand the city-chic raffia bagis on the rise. From left: Balenciaga sunglasses ($325), skinny belt ($215), striped raffia bag ($795), peep-toe sandals ($725), jacket, blouse, collar, and shorts. Sunglasses at Saks Fifth Avenue. Belt at Bergdorf Goodman. Bag at Barneys New York. Sandals at Balenciaga, NYC. Yves Saint Laurent sand raffia-and-leather satchel ($1,095), bolero, and dress; Yves Saint Laurent boutiques. Details, see In This Issue.

TILL NOW

From near right: Prada ostrich bag ($4,990), top, and skirt; (888) 977-1900. Mark Davis bracelets, $3,990 each; Barneys New York. Donna Karan New York wedges, $595; Donna Karan New York stores. Sting in the Tail leather apron, $95; takashimaya-ny.com. Jimmy Choo suede ankle boots, $995; Jimmy Choo boutiques. Miu Miu bodysuit and skirt. On both: Gaspar Gloves by Dorothy Gaspar, $185 and $250; gaspargloves.com. Details, see In This Issue.

GLOVES AT THE READY

Theyand a tote big enough to hold seedlings and saplingsare vital. CA[c]line leather belt ($350), ankle-strap heels ($870), loden shirt, and khaki skirt; Barneys New York. Rose gloves, $38; nybgshop.org. Bottega Veneta woven napa-leather bag; Bottega Veneta, NYC.

NIGHT MANEUVERS

A color palette reminiscent of camouflage is one way to blend into the undergrowth. Albertus Swanepoel bucket hat, $230; albertusswanepoel.com. Hublot rubber-strap watch; hublot.com. Marc Jacobs embroidered leather shoulder-strap bag ($1,395) and pants; Marc Jacobs, NYC. Louis Vuitton jacket. Details, see In This Issue.

BEAUTY NOTE

Black frame: Eyes take center stage with Avon’s Smooth Minerals Eye Liner in Onyx.

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IN THE FIELD

Ultratextured woven sandals ensure grass won’t grow under your feet. Pamela Love Jewelry beaded cuffs, $650 each; Opening Ceremony, NYC. Proenza Schouler multicolor woven slingbacks, $1,055; Opening Ceremony, Los Angeles. Alexander Wang pants.

GREEN FOR GO

Launch your planting campaign with a brand-new kit. Squashy straw hat? Check. A raffia chain-strap purse? Check. Lanvin hat ($368), necklace ($890), foldover bag ($1,750), multicolor kitten heels ($1,110), and cargo dress; hat, bag, and heels at Barneys New York.

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Messy shoe collection: are your slides, stilettos, and sneakers in a jumble?

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French fries. Facials. A new pair of shoes. Three things you can never have too many of, which is why it was easy to find a woman willing to fling open the double doors of her closet and have her shoe collection organized. Meet Nicole Kennedy, who’s a stay-at-home mom with two daughters, Nadiyah, 3, and Sanaa, 2, and a self-proclaimed shoe-aholic. “I can’t resist a shoe sale,” she says. “I must have more than 100 pairs all over my house in boxes, plastic bins, and big piles.” We asked wardrobe consultant Jenny Gering, owner of Go Lightly in New York City, to step in and size up Nicole’s shoe situation. The outcome? A clutter-free area worth kicking up those heels over!

5 easy steps to ending shoe-closet chaos

(1) Pare down

Jenny advises taking all your shoes out of the closet (and rounding up any strays in other rooms). Then sort them into the following piles: summer, winter, everyday, and formal.

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(2) Grin and bare it

Next, remove everything else: clothes, purses, bags, and boxes. Starting from scratch makes it easier to decide which pairs should go where and which ones can go the way of Goodwill.

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(3) Ground rules

Reserve space on your closet floor for what you wear often–work shoes, Saturday sneakers. The Chrome Expandable and Stackable Shoe Rack holds 18 pairs and stretches to 46 inches; Bed Beth & Beyond, $14.99.

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(4) What’s under the bed?

Keep shoes that aren’t in season in this Clear Vinyl Divided Underbed Shoe Chest, The Container Store, $14.99. Wrap shoes in tissue paper for extra protection.

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(5) Fancy feet

Store your most precious pairs in see-through containers so they’re easy to spot when a special occasion comes along; Clear Stacking Storage Drawers, Hold Everything, $49 for a set of six.

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AFTER

Pair by pair, all of Nicole’s shoes made it back into her closet–only now she can see them! “I love that I can just reach into my closet and instantly find the pair I want to wear,” she says.

Bag it

Make finding the perfect purse for any pair of shoes a breeze by filing bags away in this Makati Newspaper Basket, The Container Store, $29.99.

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Shoe tools

For instant upkeep, have a maintenance kit handy, including shoe polish and sponges, extra laces, padded insoles, and shoe shapers. Makati Magazine Basket, The Container Store, $29.99.

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Clear view

Shoes you wear only once in a blue moon can go on a high shelf in transparent boxes.

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Favorite finds

Because Nicole has a weakness for pretty, summery flip-flops, we made room for her collection in the Linnan Closet Organizer, which attaches to a rod with a Velcro strap; Ikea, $12.95.

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Can these shoes be saved?

We asked Redbook staffers to hand their out-of-commission shoes over to New York cobbler extraordinaire Arty Zeva of Arty’s Shoe Repair. Find out which shoes lived to pound the pavement again.

too-high heel

Yes, you can lower those sky-high pumps you splurged on to walking level.

Cost: About $8 to shave off a half inch (removing any more will make the shoe unbalanced)

Time: 10 minutes

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separated sole

Got a gaping hole where a seam should be? No problem. Your favorite loafers can be resoled or “half-soled” over the bad spot.

Cost: $20 to $35

Time: A day or two

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If you’re sauntering along and your strap snaps, there’s hope. Serious shoe glue puts it back in place–for good.

Cost: About $5

Time: 5 minutes

broken-sandal

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misshapen sling

Sorry–after leather stretches too far or suffers water damage, it’s ruined. To help shoes retain their shape, use a water-resistant spray, and when they’re off your feet, slip foam shoe trees into them.

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REDBOOK INSTANT EXPERT

MUST-DO MOVERS

1 If you prefer to store your shoes in an over-the-door hanging shoe bag, put each pair in the pocket sole-to-sole to prevent scuffing.

2 If you have a deep closet with insufficient light, keep a flashlight on the floor or hang one on the door so you can quickly survey the far reaches.

3 Got shoes that haven’t been out of the house in two years? Say so long to them; they’re just hogging space. Bottomless Closet accepts donations for women in need. Find a drop-off site near you or a mailing address at www.bottomlesscloset.org.

more shoe-storage smarts

* Another way to cut the time you spend searching for the right shoe: Keep each pair in the original box and tape a Polaroid of the shoes to the outside.

* No need to buy those budget-busting fillers for your high boots. Stuffing them with ordinary tissue paper protects their shape just as well.

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